In Ceremony by Leslie Silks good and evil are portrayed in many ways. One evil that is portrayed was Memo a Laguna Native American that Toyota met during the war. There is also a young man named Toyota who is mixed with a Laguna Native American and Caucasian which is the main character in the story. Throughout the story Memo is portrayed as an example of what not to be. Later in the story we learn Memo’s purpose in Taps ceremony was to test Taps ability to complete his ceremony. Memo is a significant part of the story because it makes Toyota distinguish the witchery that Memo tends for.
Memo was always representing evil with the symbols, the witchery toward the people and land, and at the end with the ceremony. He represents evil. Throughout the story they show Memo as a hostile boy towards Toyota and also toward his people and land. He is introduced as a soldier who fought with Toyota during the war, but after Toyota stabs Memo in the bar he is filled with bitterness towards him. “Memo liked to point to the restless dusty wind and the cloudless skies, to the bony horses chewing on fence posts beside the highway; Memo liked to say “Look what is here for us. Look. Here’s the Indians’ mother earth!
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Old dried-up thing! ” Taps anger made his hands shake. Memo was wrong. All wrong (Silks 23)”. Memo is acting out the story that Betony told Toyota about the witches. It is Betony that lets Toyota discovers that it is witchery, Cuckoo, and the evil magic it has concocted with its words. “Then they grow away from the earth… They see no life when they look they only see objects. The world is a dead thing for them the trees and rivers are not alive (Silks 125)”. Memo is clearly trying to separate the people from the land which would rate havoc, because it’s all part of the ceremony that Memo is trying to complete as well.
Memo wants to poison Toyota mind to let him believe that his family’s stories don’t do anything for them or the land. Memo is playing out the story that Betony is saying about the witches. Memo has symbols that made him and witchery alike. Memo likes to proudly carry the old teeth that he pulled from the Japanese soldiers maliciously, like the witches do. “Fox, badger, bobcat, and wolf they circled the fire and on animals skin (Silks 123)”. So Memo is doing Just what witches do, carry their prizes with them. They like to flaunt what they have killed.
He rejects the ways of the past, favoring manipulation and deception to have his way with the people. Memo purpose of these stories is that he wants his stories of him being with white women and having white things to replace the traditional stories that the family in the tribes would tell their families. “Us Indians deserve something better than this goddamn dried-up country around here. Blowing away, every day (Silkily)”. Once again I go back to the story Betony was telling Toyota about the witchery “They will poison the water they will spin the water way and there will be drought the people will starve (Silkiest)”.
As Taps Journey to finish his ceremony continues, Memo’s Journey does too. As the story goes along it is noticed that Memo represents witchery, but we learn that Toyota has created the witchery in Memo. Memo has always hated Toyota because he was half white, because the white people always had everything. Therefore he was always a toxic person to be the ceremony. Memo’s significance to the ceremony is realized when Toyota learns that Memo is the last test to complete his ceremony. The witchery would be at work all night so that he people would see only the losses- the land and the lives lost- since the whites came; the witchery would work so that the people would be fooled into blaming only the whites and not the witchery. ” That is when Toyota noticed that all the stories were a pattern. It was confirmed that Memo was practicing witchery, an example when he had the Japanese soldier’s teeth in a bag and would carry them around with him, when he tortured Harley then killed him, and when Memo made lies about Toyota when he was with These. All of that was a form of witchery. Whorls of skin cut from fingertips”(Silks 24). In the story of Betony it says the witches would cut the skin from the fingertips and in the end of the story Memo does the same thing to Harley when he is being tortured by hi m. During the final stages of the ceremony in the mines Memo wanted to be killed by Toyota so Memo could complete the final part to complete his ceremony for the witchery. “Pinkie found the tire iron and was pounding the hood of the car again. The sound set his teeth on edge and angered him in a way he had not felt since the day he had stabbed Memo.
It was the sound of witchery: smashing through the night, shrill ND cold as black metal. It was the empty sound of the nightmares; even the voices he recognized (Silks 232). ” The main purpose was to test Toyota the entire time to see if he was capable to finish the ceremony and bring the rain back to his people. If Toyota would have killed Memo he would have completed their deadly ritual for the autumn solstice and the witchery would have “Set in motion to destroy to kill objects to act for us objects to act for us performing the witchery for suffering for torment for the still born the deformed the sterile and the dead”(Silks 127).
The tribes futures ere in Tacos hands if he would have killed Memo like he wanted to he would have failed the biggest test Memo was supposed to put him through. The main purpose for Memo being significant in the story was to test Toyota to see if he could complete the ceremony. The whole point of Memo’s significance to the completion of Taps ceremony was to complete the stories that the tribe has told them for many years. It was up to Toyota to defeat witchery until someone came trying to test the lands powers. Memo is a significant part of the story because it makes Toyota distinguish the witchery that Memo stands for.